Letters to the Editor – Purim Edition 5782
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I appreciated your very interesting interview with Hillel Halkin, and particularly regarding his thoughts on Jabotinsky (Vol. 4, No. 8).
My father, Erwin Lamm z”l, was brought up in a strict Agudah environment in Vienna. His father forbade him from attending speeches by two great visitors to Vienna, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (“the Frierdiker Rebbe”) and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who as a Zionist was anathema to an Agudah family. After the war, my father became a fervent Zionist and embraced Jabotinsky’s ideology, eventually becoming president of the Likud movement in Australia. He also greatly admired Chabad and its leader in Australia, Rabbi Yitchak David Groner zt”l.
While Halkin refers to Jabotinsky’s non-religious views, Jabotinsky must have had some form of Torah education. My late father recounted a speech in which Jabotinsky argued that Jews must proactively take up arms and defend themselves. Jabotinsky said that only once, before the miracle of the splitting of the sea, did G-d tell the Jews to remain passive while He fought on their behalf: ה’ ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון, “G-d will fight for you, and you will hold your peace” (Shemot 14:14). A heckler challenged Jabotinsky by quoting a different verse: לא בחיל ולא בכח כי אם ברוחי אמר ה’ צבאות, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, said the L-rd of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Jabotinsky retorted: “Do you know when we read that verse? On Shabbat Chanukah! After we proactively fought and won the battle against the Greeks, we declare our recognition of etzba Elokim, that without G-d’s help we could not have succeeded!”
Many thanks for the excellent articles penned by so many wonderful authors. May HaMizrachi and World Mizrachi go from strength to strength!
Dr. Danny Lamm AM
President, Mizrachi Australia and Deputy Chairman, World Mizrachi
I was troubled by two of the statements made in Professor Efraim Inbar’s essay, Realpolitik Should Guide Israeli-Russian Relations (Vol. 4, No. 8).
Professor Inbar puts a positive spin on Russia’s support of the Assad regime, arguing that it “proves to everyone that Russia does not abandon its allies – in contrast to the US.” Support of one of the world’s most repressive dictatorships, in some cases by indiscriminately bombing civilians and medical facilities, should be condemned – not commended as demonstration of loyalty.
Professor Inbar also claimed that “the Jewish people have a moral debt to Russia” for its fight against the Nazis and initial support of Israel. Yet Russia’s record as an enemy of the Jewish people far exceeds its record as a friend. Consider their role in the publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, pogroms and Red Army atrocities against Jews, decades of ruthless religious persecution, denial of Jewish emigration rights, the “Zionism is Racism” UN resolution, and support of Arab armies in the 1967 and 1973 wars. It is Russia which owes something to the Jews, not the other way around.
Last year’s Palestinian assault on Israel was a reminder that moral clarity is imperative in times of conflict. As Russia threatens invasion of sovereign Ukraine, Professor Inbar’s comments only offer moral distortion.
Central Illinois, USA
Time to Read
Thank you for an extremely interesting and informative most recent issue about the history of the Mizrachi movement (Vol. 4, No. 7). In that issue, one of the letters to the editor stated that HaMizrachi “always offers valuable reading material in shul”.
I have long bemoaned the fact that so much time is invested in creating Jewish/Torah magazines, yet since we are living in the smartphone generation, when everyone is so busy surfing websites, people only have time to read a proper magazine for a few minutes in shul on Shabbat morning.
I don’t own a smartphone and for the last couple of weeks, as I was eating my dinner, I actually read an article every night. I can truly testify that the most recent edition was an extremely good read!
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel